Our newest Featured Artist is Watercolor & Oil Painter Don Ouellette! Learn a little bit more about him!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where did you study? How long have you been an artist?
A: Born in Lowell grew up in the Acre. So Western Avenue was a little like coming back home. I’ve been painting for over 35 years. It started with watercolor lessons with my Dad and became a life long desire to interpret the vanishing New England countryside. Being a painter was usually a part time pursuit due to having a job and raising a family. I studied with well known artist Jack Flynn AWS, Carlton Plummer AWS, Murray Wentwoth NA, Guy Dampier and David Lowrey. After a layoff from work, art became a full time pursuit that eventually brought me to WAS.
Q: Describe a typical art creativity session. What is it like? For example, do you work in silence, or do you work to music? Do you prefer to be alone, or do you need people around?
A: A typical day at the studio can start at 9 am or Noon (being retired does have certain benefits) finding what excites me on a given day is usually what leads to what I will attempt to create that day. Subject matter will dictate which medium I’ll use. Some days I’ll spend time drawing sketches for the next work. I can work with music or in silence, with others or alone I don’t have a preference.
Q: How does your personality translate into your art?
A: People have told me my work gives them peace and calm. Serenity is a good thing. Other artists will use conflict and other emotions and are very successful doing that. In a world that moves at the speed of light I try to slow down the hyper drive and find the calm in an ever changing symphony of noise.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to make the art you make today? Did you start out in a different medium in the early days?
A: If my Dad hadn’t pushed me to take his watercolor class I would not be painting today. My brothers were both artistically gifted at a young age but never pursued Art. Being the one without the gift, sheer determination and perseverance guided my choice. I knew from teaching myself guitar that practice was key to developing and making progress in Art. I worked in watercolor for a number of years before working in oils.
Q: What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an artist?
A: Take your time find a teacher that can help you reach your goals. Don’t be afraid to
fail (the best hitters in baseball fail 7 out of 10 at bats.) Early on learn enough technique
so that you will control the medium you choose. Find what you are passionate about
and begin to explore that in an artistic manner.
Q: Do you have a big seller? What do you think people love about it? And be honest…are you tired of making it?
A: I don’t have that one motif that I turn to all the time. It’s good to keep looking and be open to try new and different subjects. If you are a realistic painter try abstracts to help
you push your design skills. Try high and low key paintings. If you work small try a large
canvas. Do things to get out of your comfort zone. Never stop exploring, the next big
thing may be around the corner.
*You can meet Don in his Studio 533 on First Saturday Open Studios. Stop by and say Hello!!